This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Tampa, Florida (U.S.)

Hillsborough County

Last modified: 2022-07-02 by rick wyatt
Keywords: tampa | florida | hillsborough county |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

[Tampa, Florida] 3:5 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.

See also:

Current Flag

Text and image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) from American City Flags by permission of David B. Martucci.


Tampa’s flag has a shape unlike any other U.S. city flag. It is a modified burgee with a shallow indentation between the two traditional end points, and a third point (suggesting the tongue found on some swallow-tailed war ensigns), about half as long, between the other two. At the hoist are three narrow equal vertical stripes—red, white, and blue—each .2 units wide on a white field of 3 by 5 units. Spaced evenly on the blue stripe are 7 white five-pointed stars. 1.6 units from the hoist are five approximately equal vertical stripes (three yellow and two red) that form a central bar .75 units wide. Centered on this red and yellow bar is the city’s seal, 1.1 units in diameter. From the seal’s fly midpoint, three stripes—red, white, red—each .2 units wide, bend in a chevron oriented to the fly. At the end of the fly is a dark green stripe about the same width as the red stripes of the chevron and oriented in the same fashion. The top and bottom of the stripe have diamond-shaped red tips at the top and bottom points of the fly. The tongue between these two points forms a diamond, and is itself divided into four smaller equal diamonds; the top and bottom of these are dark green and meld into the green chevron, while the fly diamond at the tip of the tongue is red like its counterparts above and below. The hoist diamond is dark blue and displays a single white five-pointed star.

Extending across the center of the field horizontally from the blue stripe at the hoist, is another blue stripe .2 units wide that runs behind the seal and over the chevron stripes, stopping at the border of the green chevron at the fly’s edge. Two white stars are on the hoist portion of this stripe, in line with the center star of the vertical stripe, and four more are on the fly side, evenly spaced. The blue diamond of the tongue with its lone star gives the impression that the blue stripe is overlaid by the green chevron. All of the stars on the flag are oriented point-upwards.

The seal is blue on white. The outer ring around the seal is edged in blue. The white field of the ring is divided into two semicircular bands with rounded ends, one above and one below, that do not quite meet at the center, where a small white star on blue separates them on both sides. Arched on the top band is CITY OF TAMPA FLORIDA and on the lower band, counterclockwise, is ORGANIZED JULY 15, 1887, all in blue. In the center of the seal is the steamer Mascotte on a blue sea headed toward the fly. Midway across the lower portion of the sea is a white horizontal stripe with MASCOTTE on it in blue. The seal was adopted in 1887.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


The designer suggested rather creative symbolism for his design. The colors are inspired by the national flags of the immigrants who settled the area: France, Great Britain, and the United States (red, white and blue); Italy (green, white, and red); and Spain (red and yellow). British contributions to the area (1763-1821) are also suggested by portions of the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George. Florida is acknowledged by the red and white colors of its state flag and by a stylized “F”. A stylized “H” suggests Hillsborough County, of which Tampa is the seat of government. The seal superimposed on a stylized “T” commemorates the official birth of Tampa in 1855. (Some imagination is required to trace out the letters intended by the designer.) The Mascotte on the seal recalls the ship built for railroad magnate Henry B. Plant, which ran passengers and freight from Tampa to Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba, in the late 19th century, allowing Cuban cigar workers to travel inexpensively between factories in Florida and Cuba.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Presented to Mayor D. B. McKay by the designer. The mayor recommended it to the board of representatives, who adopted the flag.
Flag adopted: 8 July 1930 (official).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


F. Grant Whitney, a local industrial engineer.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

A photo in the Tampa Tribune of 24 February 1944 shows the flag with a white vertical stripe centered over the red vertical stripe behind the seal. Neither the original version nor the official version on file in the city shows that stripe, which was apparently added in error by the manufacturer.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

The official page about the flag at says that "Until 1930, the City of Tampa had no flag. In June of that year a local industrial engineer presented Mayor D. B. McKay with his original design symbolizing the city's multi-national heritage. McKay, in turn, presented the banner to the Board of Representatives and recommended that it be adopted as the official flag of the City. Meeting on July 1, 1930 the Board acted favorably on the recommendation. One week later during a session of the Board, Mayor McKay publicly and officially accepted the flag from its designer, F. Grant Whitney. Red, white, and blue for the Stars and Stripes, the red and gold of Spain, the British Union Jack, the red, white and green of Italy and the French tricolor were used to portray the countries that contributed to the growth of Florida."

The photo at the official city website ( ) seems to show the same version of the seal as in the NAVA image, (also shown here: ) and not the more stylized (more recent?) version used standalone by the city (e.g. at ) as in the flag image used in Wikipedia and many other sites.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 June 2008


[City seal] image located by Paul Bassinson, 24 June 2019

Paul Bassinson, 24 June 2019

Ybor City

[Tampa, Florida] 3:5 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.

This postcard was sold on E-bay in February 2005.  It appears to show a flag of Ybor City, a district of Tampa, diagonally quartered green, yellow, red and blue, with a central circular emblem incorporating the name and a cigar, and a narrow centered vertical white stripe.
located by Dov Gutterman, 22 February 2005
Ybor City website

Tampa is one of the few cities, including Cleveland and New York, with a sub-municipal flag, in this case the flag of Ybor City, which comprises Tampa’s Latin Quarter. Ybor City was founded as a village devoted to cigar manufacturing in 1885 and was annexed to Tampa in 1887. There is no information available about the flag’s history or designer, but it is at least forty years old.

The flag is divided into four triangular quarters (per saltire), yellow at the hoist, green at the top, red at the fly, and blue on the bottom. Overlaying the center is a white disk resembling a seal, the outer edge of which has a white band bordered in gold. In the lower half of the disk is a gold cigar slanting up from the hoist toward the fly, with a blue tip at the hoist end. Over the cigar in script is Ybor, in white outlined in blue. Below the cigar, in small blue letters, is CITY. A narrow white vertical stripe runs from the center edges of the disk to the top and bottom edges of the flag. The colors come from the flags of the original countries of the city’s many ethnic groups. A rather comical “Pledge of Affection” for the flag reads, in “Spanglish”:

I pledge affection to the flag of Ybor Ciudad
The symbol of fame and fine calidad
It should always wave proudly arriba
With friendship and good will ever viva!
Yesterday, today and mañana,
My it always inspire our hazañas
We are españoles, italianos, and cubanos
But together we make americanos.
Salute our flag and alcalde
Trust them to always be salve.
Respect this ensign we demanda
Let’s be gay when see it, caramba!

John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Port Tampa Bay

[Port Tampa Bay, Florida] image by Randy Young, 14 March 2016

"Port Tampa Bay, known as the Port of Tampa until January 2014, is the largest port in the state of Florida and is overseen by the Tampa Port Authority, a Hillsborough County agency. The port is located in Tampa, Florida near downtown Tampa's Channel District. The port directly accesses Tampa Bay on the western coast of the Florida Suncoast, and is approximately 25 sea miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The boundaries of the Port district includes parts of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough Bay, McKay Bay, Old Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River. The port serves container ships and cruise lines. It was established in 1924"
Sources: and

The flag is the logo ( on a horizontal white flag as seen here (flag on the right): (source:

For additional information go to Tampa Port (official website):
Esteban Rivera, 14 March 2016